Our regional Battle of the Bands turns to the state of New York. And we start today with a group that actually was able to make some waves nationally.
The Blues Magoos hailed from The Bronx in New York City. The band was Ralph Scala, Emil "Peppy" Thielhelm, Ron Gilbert, Mike Esposito and Geoff Daking. The band's first release was on Verve Records (as Bloos Magoos) but did little. Mercury Records swooped in and signed the band and took them into a studio to record an LP in 1966. The second single from the album, released in October of 1966, was their biggest hit, (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet. The song was written by the lead guitarist, the organ player and the bassist and lifted a riff from Ricky Nelson's unique version of Summertime. But they took that riff and made it front and center of a musical explosion that simply soars. Somewhat improbably, the song became a national hit, reaching #5 in the US and getting The Blues Magoos a spot opening for The Who and Herman's Hermits as well as a spot on the very important Smothers Brothers show.
The Flip-Side of We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet is the strong number, Gotta Get Away. Both sides demonstrate just how talented this band was. In particular, the guitar work of lead guitarist, Mike Esposito (second from left in the photo below), is more than a cut above the competition.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!